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What anti-virus software should I use?

What anti-virus software should I use?

One commonly asked question I get is, “What anti-virus software should I use?”  After 25 years of IT experience at all levels, the answer I provide is more defined as what anti-virus software you should NOT USE.  My personal experience, involves working on tens of thousands of computers, thousands of servers, and more. My recommendation is to stay away from all variations of Norton, McAfee, Webroot, and Avast--especially so-called “security suites” which try to save your computer from the galaxy.  The problem is they try to do too much and it results in false-positives, software conflicts, and performance issues in many cases. I know some people will say, “I’ve never had a problem with _________” but if you’ve only ever touched a few computers in your life, you will not have enough information to argue this point.

I recently launched a new free SVG website (svgspot.com) and McAfee has already falsely identified it as containing malware, even though I pay for a third-party security service to scan the site daily AND the files that are available come from my personal computer which is protected by Panda Security.  Now, the best part is you cannot get a virus directly from an SVG file (or a font file). Some will argue that point but the only way that happens is if you download a file disguised as an SVG or font file, something is bundled with the files, or the site requires you to install a special downloader or viewer or any other installation required software.  This supports my long-time stance that a well-protected user is a well-educated user regardless of what anti-virus software one is using.

What do I recommend?

I personally now use Panda Security on all of my computers at work and at home.  I can also recommend AVG, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky based on both experience and lack of issues observed.  I have not personally used Kaspersky more than through a trial, but experienced no issues and I have known many people who use it with no issues.  Panda Security has a free version and they also have a very affordable paid version for Windows and Mac.

Malwarebytes is another great option and I view it as a companion to anti-virus software.  I prefer to use regular anti-virus protection and not run Malwarebytes in real-time protection and periodically run a scan with Malwarebytes to clean up malware/adware. I will say that I'd rather see Malwarebytes ran by itself in real-time protection mode than to use any of those four I mentioned, though.

Word of Caution

I will say that regardless of what you choose, I recommend choosing the basic anti-virus protection.  Do not buy the "742-point protection Internet Security Suite" that does everything including your grocery shopping.  Ok, I’m exaggerating but that’s what it seems like they try to do for you. If you stick to the basic anti-virus protection and educate yourself on what types of files and websites to avoid, you’re much better off.

Conclusion

While many people do not have issues with the four evil software package I mentioned above (Norton, McAfee, Webroot, and Avast), I will clarify my stance.  I have wroked on tens of thousands of computers and servers in my career.  Any time I found a problem that was related to anti-virus software it has been one of those four.  I have NEVER had an issue, conflict, or performance issue caused by any of the other anti-virus software solutions I have mentioned in this article.  

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